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Opium War, 1840-1842: Barbarians in the Celestial Empire in the Early Part of the Nineteenth Century and the War by Which They Forced Her Gates
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Opium War, 1840-1842: Barbarians in the Celestial Empire in the Early Part of the Nineteenth Century and the War by Which They Forced Her Gates

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  52 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
This book tells the fascinating story of the war between England and China that delivered Hong Kong to the English, forced the imperial Chinese government to add four ports to Canton as places in which foreigners could live and trade, and rendered irreversible the process that for almost a century thereafter distinguished western relations with this quarter of the globe-- ...more
Paperback, 440 pages
Published March 1st 1998 by University of North Carolina Press (first published January 1st 1975)
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Ensiform
Dec 10, 2011 Ensiform rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, war, china
This book is a solid telling of the events leading up to the Opium War and its conclusion (but the title is misleading, as Fay's detailed narrative begins in 1935 or so). Fay writes with wit and a good sense of drama, and his prose flows pretty well despite the fact that he jumps from one idea to another occasionally. Rarely, the text drags, as when Fay goes on a little too long about exactly how a ship arrived on the China coast from India, or what the mail service was like. Also, Fay obviously ...more
Greg
Jan 14, 2014 Greg rated it liked it
The Opium War has always been something that peeked my curiosity, but it has also been an event about which I knew very little. Fay has written a good account, complete with an analysis of its primary characters, for anyone interested. The war was born out of many conflicts. The Cantonese vs. the British and other European (and rapacious) traders, or the moral conflict of a trade in such distasteful cargo, are good excuses for war. Ultimately, in my opinion, after reading this book it is primari ...more
Cat
Jan 25, 2013 Cat rated it liked it
Fascinating BUT pretty turgid. Had to set myself a daily goal of 15 pages and only then was I allowed to read another book or I would never have finished.
The author knows his stuff and writes well but there is so much detail about which ship was where, who was on which one etc that I almost had to admit defeat.
The topic is great, the politics pretty appalling, the links to modern day Hong Kong so apparent with the names of the streets based upon the main "protagonists" and all the promise of a
...more
Yooperprof
Fascinating look at notorious nineteenth century episode wherein Great Britain invaded China in order to protect the interests of the opium drug cartel, and in the process inadvertently picked up for the British Empire what was then a neglected and insignificant island and what is now the global megacity of Hong Kong. "You can't make this stuff up."
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